When I buy teas to review, it can sometimes take a few months to get around to tasting them. I’m writing this on Good Friday, but I bought today’s teas from Aromatica Fine Teas waaaay back last year during a Black Friday sale.
So… four months. And I’m still buying tea for future posts.
I didn’t get these two teas from Aromatica Fine Teas themselves, though; I bought them from Amoda Tea, a Canadian tea subscription company that specializes in finding new and unique blends from smaller vendors and bringing them into the limelight. Amoda has some pretty cool stuff available; if I ever manage to get my cupboard under control, I may sign up for their monthly boxes — you never know! In the meantime, these two will be a fitting introduction.
Anyways, on to today’s teas.
Ginger Cream Black Tea
First up is the Ginger Cream blend, a mix of Assam black tea, ginger pieces, and vanilla bean pieces. The dry leaf is pretty true to expectations, and I’m pretty sure I can distinguish the chunks of vanilla bean from the black tea. The ginger pieces look a bit stringy, but that’s okay.
I’m surprised by how well the vanilla and ginger meld together, smell-wise. They create an aroma that’s soft and gentle, and they blend with the black tea to create a scent that’s actually kind of reminiscent of mocha/coffee. I normally associate ginger with fruity and spicy flavours, so this earthier, sweeter profile is unexpected.
I took a big heaping spoonful and steeped it with a pot of just-boiled water for 3 1/2 minutes. The brewed tea was bit less mocha-like, with the ginger and vanilla flavours becoming more distinct as they wafted towards my nose. Even after only 3 and a half minutes, the tea was a really rich, eye-popping brown.
However, I didn’t taste much ginger or vanilla when I tasted it. The most dominant flavour was the Assam base — brisk, malty, a tad astringent, with a bit of citrusy hint underneath. If you had just given me a mug of this straight-up without letting me know what tea I was drinking, I would have been able to guess that it was an Assam and that it was flavoured, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell what it had been flavoured with. Overall, the brewed tea just tasted like it had a hint of something else added to it.
Peach Ginger Rose Black Tea
It’s really interesting to see how the same ingredient can taste so radically different from food to food. Where the Ginger Cream tea had an earthy, subdued note, this blend — containing Ceylon tea, rose petals, ginger pieces, and natural flavours — is punchy, sweet, juicy, and bright-smelling. The most prominent smell of the dry tea is the peach, which is the perfect hit of sunshine on the cold, sleety day that I’m writing this.
The rose petals are a great addition because they add depth and roundedness to the peach notes without being overwhelming. I can also smell the ginger, but it’s there more as a dry, sharp sparkle on the top. The peach is really the star scent here.
I took a big heaping spoonful, put it into my teapot and let the whole thing steep for 4 minutes. In the end, I got a really robust-looking brew that smelled more strongly of rose than before.
Like the Ginger Cream tea, though, the strongest flavour was the base tea rather than the flavours. However, here, the Ceylon is a very good choice, because it’s generally a bright-tasting kind of leaf with its own inherently fruity notes. As the tea cooled, I could taste more peach, but I was honestly expecting the ginger to show up more than it did. This is quite pleasant, though.